Bequeathed to the museum by local rope maker R.E Hart, the collection is one of the best collections of manuscripts and coins in the country.
The manuscript and book collection, which is internationally regarded, is Hart’s attempt at documenting the history of the written word. Highlights include the Psalters and Books of Hours which are permanently displayed. His collection also includes some of the earliest printed books by William Caxton and a page from the Gutenberg bible. Those with a taste for Arts and Crafts can see books made by William Morris’ Kelmscott Press including his beautiful Canterbury Tales.
The coins donated as part of the Hart collection, numbering almost 8000, are a representation of coins from the history of Britain, a history of Rome and the various city-states in Ancient Greece (all our Hart Collection Greek coins can be viewed in the Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum Report). The Highlight of the collection is the ‘Leges Aureus’, a gold coin from the reign of Octavian (later to become Augustus) of which there are only two in the world.
To see a short video of Dr Cynthia Johnston, from the Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study at the University of London being interviewed about our collection and our recent ‘Cotton to Gold’ Exhibition, please click here.
It is possible to purchase prints of some items in our collections. Please contact Bridgeman Art Library for further details.